Missouri Lawmakers Approve GOP-Led Marijuana Legalization Bill In Committee

Missouri Lawmakers Approve GOP-Led Marijuana Legalization Bill In Committee
MJ moment

A Missouri House committee on Thursday narrowly approved a GOP-led bill to tax and regulate adult-use marijuana in the state. The legislation from Rep. Ron Hicks (R), titled the “Cannabis Freedom Act,” cleared the House Public Safety Committee in a 5-4 vote, with amendments. It now heads to the Rules Committee before it could potentially advance to the floor. Beside legalizing possession and sale of cannabis, the bill would further provide opportunities for expungements, authorize social consumption facilities and permit cannabis businesses to claim tax deductions with the state. While advocates had hoped that the panel would advance the bill without revisions, members ultimately adopted three amendments. The changes concern licensing caps, regulatory authority over the cannabis market and a proposal described by one lobbyist as a “poison pill” that imposes restrictions on who would qualify for equity benefits. Hicks told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Thursday that he’s “disappointed” by the committee amendments, particularly a change pushed by Rep. Nick Schroer (R) that the sponsor said represents a “poison pill” that’s already causing cosponsors of the original bill to pull back. The revision unnecessarily plays into partisan divides over rights for transgender people, Hicks said. And while he’s frustrated by its adoption, he stressed that he understands why it would cause some cosponsors to balk and he doesn’t “hold it against them.” “This [legalization bill] is really important for Missourians—their voice needs to be heard,” he said, adding that he feels those voices would not be effectively heard if the reform is decided at the ballot instead, as some activists are pushing for. “I want the legislature to be able to handle it so that when there are problems and things need to be changed, it can be changed,” he said. “We need to be able to…

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Source : Missouri Lawmakers Approve GOP-Led Marijuana Legalization Bill In Committee

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